Scratching beneath the surface: Using policy archaeology to better understand education reform in Wales

Evans, Gareth (2023) Scratching beneath the surface: Using policy archaeology to better understand education reform in Wales. Management in Education. ISSN 1741-9883

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This opinion piece was inspired by a conversation with a colleague about education policy ‘gone wrong’. Our brief exchange was as frustrating as it was illuminating, and we resolved that policymakers should be held more accountable for the decisions they take, and that regardless of its relative success or failure, policy formation should be routinely appraised and its evolution documented. Policy archaeology offers a means by which these decisions, and their resulting aftereffects, can be further examined. The article takes as a starting point the depiction of policy not as an object, product or outcome, but as a process, and something that is ongoing, interactional and unstable (Ball, 2021). This policy volatility is neatly encapsulated in the Welsh approach to accountability, with schools and their teachers subjected to myriad mechanisms designed to measure performance. Using this as an example, the article makes the case for a deeper and more forensic interrogation of policy design and development; it urges policy archaeologists to scratch beneath the surface of policy and ask, with the benefit of hindsight, what happened and what might have been done differently to generate more favourable outcomes. A series of key questions is offered as a potential scaffold for policy excavation.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Education and Humanities > Academic Discipline: Childhood, Youth and Education
Depositing User: Lesley Cresswell
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2023 14:32
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2023 15:22

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